Detroit Tigers: Recapping Every 2016 Draftee’s First Professional Season

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Detroit Tigers
Mar 29, 2015; Clearwater, FL, USA; A general view of a Detroit Tigers hats, gloves and sunglasses in the dugout against the Philadelphia Phillies at Bright House Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

Matt Manning

Round Drafted: First
Position: Starting Pitcher

A future ace, Manning undoubtedly has the highest upside of any player in the Detroit Tigers system. Armed with a blazing fastball and an effective power curve, the right-hander will eventually team with Fulmer to give Detroit an outstanding top of the rotation.

Stats aren’t everything in the minor leagues, but it is hard to ignore the pitcher’s excellent strikeout and walk numbers. In 29.1 innings in the Gulf Coast League, Manning struck out 46 while only walking seven batters. Opposing hitters managed just a .237 batting average against him.

Kyle Funkhouser

Round Drafted: Fourth
Position: Starting Pitcher

Due to Detroit signing Jordan Zimmermann and Justin Upton, the team’s next-highest draft pick came in the fourth round.

Despite the lack of early-round picks, the Tigers may have come away with a steal in Kyle Funkhouser. A former first-round pick of the Dodgers in 2015, the Louisville product made 13 starts for the Connecticut Tigers in his debut season.

In 37.1 innings, the righty logged a 2.65 ERA while striking out 34 batters. He only walked eight while posting a 1.13 WHIP.

Mark Ecker

Round Drafted: Fifth
Position: Relief Pitcher

Once again, a lack of picks in the second or third round didn’t stop Avila from taking another pitcher with promising upside.

Mark Ecker dominated coming out of the bullpen for both Connecticut and Western Michigan in 2016. The 21-year-old struck out nearly a third (31) of the batters he faced (103) while allowing just three earned runs in 27.2 innings.

Those stats spit out to 10.1 strikeouts per nine innings and a 0.98 ERA. It didn’t hurt that the Texas A&M product allowed just five walks and one home run.

With a blazing fastball and two off-speed offerings, Ecker could be pitching in Detroit sooner rather than later.